How to create and remember strong passwords

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Strong passwords are more likely to keep your account and personal information safe when you’re online. The tricky part is using the many recommended password do’s and don’ts and remembering your passwords later.

Common password do’s and don’ts include:

    • DO have eight or more characters
    • DO include upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters
    • DON’T use a password more than once
    • DON’T have repeated characters or sequences, such as “bbbbb,” “2222,” or “1234”
    • DON’T use a word that appears in a dictionary (in any language)
    • DON’T use a common proper name, login ID, email address, initials, first, middle, last name, birthday or have any other personal information (even if spelled backwards)
    • DON’T write it down (if you must, keep it in a secure location such as a locked drawer or safe)

How can you accomplish all this and still remember your passwords? Annika, from F-Secure, shared a method on their Safe & Savvy blog for creating memorable, strong passwords.

Here are F-Secure’s step-by-step instructions:

  1. Think of a “pin” for your passwords. This will be the same for all of your passwords and should be 3 or more characters. For example, it could be something like, “25!” (notice the numbers and special characters). This pin should be kept secret.
  2. When you need to create a password for a website, create a code that helps you remember what site/service the password is for. For example, use “aMa” for Amazon and “gMa” for gmail (notice the upper and lower case letters).
  3. Continue the password with a random set of 4 or more characters such as, “2299” or “xy76.” You should use a different set of random characters for each password.
  4. Write down parts 2 and 3 of your password on a note so you won’t forget and keep it safe. In this example you would end up with a note that says:
      • • aMa2299
        • gMaxy76
  5. When using the passwords, add your pin. Remember again that the pin should not be written down anywhere! You can add the pin to the beginning e end of your passwords. With the examples above and using the pin “25!” created in the first step, we would end up with these two different combinations:
      • • aMa229925! or 25!aMa2299
        • gMaxy7625! or 25!gMaxy76

Ta-da! You now have passwords that are unique and can’t be guessed. And, the best part is, you only need to remember a part of it! By having unique passwords, even if someone finds one of them, your others are still safe.

As a final note, should you choose to use this system, you should come up with your own passwords and not use the ones used in this post.

TDS with guest blogger, F-Secure

About Guest Blogger

Guest blogger for TDS Home.


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